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Vancouver (B.C.). Social Service Department
Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
- Employment and Relief Department, [1915?]-[1938?]
- Social Service Department, [1938?]-1971
- Welfare and Rehabilitation Department, 1971-1974
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
The Social Service Department, known by several names, existed from 1915-1974. On January 8, 1974, the functions of the City Welfare and Rehabilitation Department, as it had been called since 1971, were transferred to the Vancouver Resources Board, i.e., to the provincial government. The Department was established to administer social services which meant allocating cash allowances, and providing a variety of supplemental services to citizens in need of, and eligible for, financial assistance. These social services, including relief and rehabilitation, were provided by legislation enacted by both the federal and provincial governments. The Department was provided for in the City's budget and was answerable to the City's Relief Committee from 1915-1936, and to the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare from 1937-1973. Through the department, individuals could make application for mother's allowances, old age assistance and security bonuses (though this function was later transferred to the province), as well as disability and blind pensions. In addition to these services, the department also arranged nursing and boarding homes placement for aged and chronically ill persons receiving social assistance. Besides providing direct financial assistance and rehabilitation, other services provided casework, medical services, housekeeping, and nutritional services. Aid to neglected children was provided by two denominational organizations which operated homes to which cases were referred by the Social Service Department. The City was financially responsible for wards of the court. Rehabilitation programs for alcoholics were also operated by the Department. Taylor Manor, a boarding facility for the elderly, was owned and operated by the City. Proceeds from the residents' pension cheques defrayed about half the costs, and clothing was furnished on the standard cost-sharing basis between the provincial and municipal governments. Burial service for the indigent dead was also the financial responsibility of the City. The Department was headed by an Administrator who was responsible to City Council through its Social Service Committee, and was organized internally into two large services: Social Services and Office Services. Social Services consisted of an intake section, where case files were initiated, a medical section, where medical cards were issued to entitle holders to medical services, and four field units (Centre, West, East, and South). Each unit consisted of a director and professional caseworkers, some of whom were supervisors. Office Services consisted of a control section, which authorized social assistance vouchers for payment, two other accounting sections responsible for maintaining departmental accounts and a records section, which maintained case files and indexes. The Department had relations with various child welfare agencies, the Family Services Association, Family and Children's Court, and other provincial and federal agencies, as well as City departments, which played significant roles in the program over its history.
There have been name changes, including: Employment and Relief Department ( 1915?-1938?); Social Service Department (1938?-1971); Welfare and Rehabilitation Department (1971-1974).
The Office of the City Clerk "Subject files", series 20, has annual files on administrative aspects of the Department's development (during the early 1930s see "Employment and Relief", 1938-1974 see "Social Service").